Mozambique fact sheet

Location of Mozambique

Location of Mozambique
Location of Mozambique

Mozambique is a country located on the southeastern coast of Africa, facing the Indian Ocean. It lies between the latitudes of about 10°S and 27°S, and the longitudes of about 30°E and 41°E.

Mozambique shares borders with six other nations:

  • Tanzania to the north,
  • Malawi and Zambia to the northwest,
  • Zimbabwe to the west,
  • Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa to the southwest.

Mozambique's eastern coastline, which stretches for approximately 2,470 kilometers (1,535 miles), is washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and is home to many ports and beaches.

The capital of Mozambique is Maputo, which is located in the southern part of the country, near the border with South Africa and Eswatini. Maputo serves as the country's main economic, political, and cultural center. It is situated on the western shore of Maputo Bay, allowing it access to the Indian Ocean, and is a key point for trade and commerce both within the region and internationally.

Mozambique basic country information

Mozambique, officially known as the Republic of Mozambique, stretches along the southeast coast of Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean. The nation is characterized by verdant landscapes, extensive beaches, and a warm tropical climate. From coastal plains to rolling uplands and plateaus in the north and northwest, the imposing Mount Binga stands as the country's highest point.

Official Country Name The formal designation of the state is the Republic of Mozambique ("República de Moçambique" in Portuguese).

Capital City Maputo, the capital, is a port city with a rich cultural tapestry and serves as the country's main economic and administrative center.

Major Cities

  • Beira: Mozambique's second-largest city and important port on the Pungwe River.
  • Nampula: The economic heart of the northern region.
  • Matola: Neighboring Maputo, recognized for its industrial complexes.
  • Pemba: Known for its port and tourism due to proximity to the Quirimbas Archipelago.
  • Quelimane: A capital of Zambezia Province with historical significance in the trade industry.
  • Tete: Situated near the Zambezi River; pivotal for mining.
  • Lichinga: The capital of Niassa Province with scenic highland views.
  • Chimoio: A commercial and agricultural center in the Manica Province.

Flag (Image or Description) The flag of Mozambique is striking, featuring horizontal bands of green, black, and yellow, separated by narrow white stripes. A red isosceles triangle sits adjacent to the hoist side. Inside the triangle, symbols include a yellow five-pointed star, a book and crossed hoe and automatic rifle—alluding to the country's commitment to education, agriculture, and defense.

Geography (Location, Borders, Climate, Major Landforms) Mozambique is situated on the Southeast African coast, bordered by six countries: Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and South Africa and Eswatini to the south. The country experiences a mainly tropical climate, with a rainy season from October to March. Major geographical features include the Zambezi River, Lake Niassa, and the Eastern Highlands along the border with Zimbabwe.

Language(s) Spoken Portuguese is the official language, with various Bantu languages such as Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, and Ndau widely spoken among the diverse ethnic groups of the population.

National Symbols (Emblem, Anthem, etc.) The national emblem has a green and red shield depicting a cogwheel – symbolizing industry – flanked by sugar cane and maize, staples of the nation's agriculture. An open book at the bottom represents education, surmounted by an AK-47 crossed with a hoe against the backdrop of a map of Mozambique, emphasizing defense and development. The national flag, as described above, reinforces these themes, while the national anthem, "Pátria Amada," evokes patriotic love and unity.

Mozambique's  10 provinces

The 10 provinces of Mozambique
The 10 provinces of Mozambique

Niassa Located in the northwest, Niassa is the largest province in Mozambique, bordered by Tanzania. Its landscape is marked by the vast Niassa Reserve, rich in wildlife and biodiversity. The capital is Lichinga, situated near Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi), offering breathtaking views and a cooler climate. Agriculture, including tobacco and cotton farming, drives the local economy. Niassa remains one of Mozambique's most remote regions, preserving many traditional practices and lifestyles.

Cabo Delgado In the far north lies Cabo Delgado, known for its pristine beaches and the Quirimbas Archipelago. Pemba, the capital, is a hub for natural gas projects, significantly impacting the province's development. The region's cultural tapestry is woven from various ethnic groups, and its recent challenges include addressing security and humanitarian issues.

Nampula Nampula is the most populous province and an agricultural center, renowned for cash crops like cotton and cashew nuts. Nampula city, the provincial capital, is an industrial and transport nexus with rich colonial architecture. Mozambique Island, with its World Heritage-listed historical core, is a key cultural and tourist destination.

Zambézia Zambézia has a varied topography, from fertile river valleys to rugged mountains. It is known for its tea plantations and vast coconut palms. Quelimane, the provincial capital, holds a significant place in Mozambique's colonial history as a key trading port. The region is one of the country's top food producers but also one of the most challenged by periodic flooding.

Tete The province of Tete, dominated by the Zambezi River Valley, is a focal point for mining, notably vast coal reserves. The Cahora Bassa Dam in Tete is one of Africa's largest hydroelectric power stations. The capital, also named Tete, is a fast-growing city due to the mining boom, experiencing an influx of economic activity.

Manica Bordering Zimbabwe, Manica is known for its lush landscapes and fertile soils conducive to agriculture, especially fruits, vegetables, and tea. The province also has significant mineral resources, including gold. Chimoio, the capital, is an important commercial center, with a diverse population reflecting the cross-border influences.

Sofala Sofala's capital, Beira, is Mozambique's second-largest city and most important port, vital to both the national and regional economy. With a history dating back to ancient trading empires, Sofala is pivotal for logistics and trade. However, it is frequently affected by cyclones due to its coastal positioning.

Inhambane Inhambane is celebrated for its historical, architectural heritage, and stunning coastline, which includes the tourist destinations of Tofo and Vilankulo. The provincial capital, also named Inhambane, is one of the oldest settlements in the country. The local economy is bolstered by tourism, fishing, and agriculture.

Gaza Lying in the southern region, Gaza is primarily agricultural, producing maize, rice, and livestock. The Limpopo River Valley is significant for irrigation-based farming. Xai-Xai, the capital, offers access to popular beaches and is growing as a commercial center. The province has also a rich cultural tradition in literature and dance.

Maputo Province Maputo Province surrounds but does not include the capital city, Maputo. It features a mix of coastal resorts like Ponta do Ouro and rural landscapes. The province is an industrial hub and has significant population growth due to urban sprawl from Maputo city. It serves as a transport corridor for goods heading to and from South Africa's economic heartland.

Major cities in Mozambqiue

Lichinga: Perched on the highlands, Lichinga is the capital of Niassa Province. This tranquil city offers cool weather and proximity to Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi), facilitating peaceful retreats. Its location provides a gateway to the Niassa Reserve, boasting a tapestry of wildlife and untamed wilderness. The local market brims with culture and the nearby Chiconono Village grants insights into the traditional Yao community.

Pemba: Nestled in a bay, Pemba is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture and pristine beaches, such as Wimbi Beach. A haven for water enthusiasts, the city is the gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago, offering world-class diving and rich marine life. Its vibrant markets, particularly the Souk, exude a blend of Arabian and African influences, displaying handcrafted wares and fresh produce.

Nampula: As the third-largest city, Nampula is a bustling urban center amid Mozambique's northern region. It serves as a commercial hub, yet retains aspects of its colonial past, evident in its cathedral and museums. Mount Namuli offers a dramatic backdrop, and nearby attractions like the Mogincual beaches and Ilha de Moçambique enrich the area's cultural and historical offerings.

Quelimane: Quelimane, the riverside capital of Zambezia Province, is enveloped by mangroves and colonial charm. Its slow-paced ambience is accentuated by remnants of the Portuguese era, vibrant streets, and the Rio dos Bons Sinais. The city is a springboard to explore the Zambezi Delta with its rich biodiversity and traditional fishing communities practicing sustainable living.

Beira: The port city of Beira, resting along the Pungwe River mouth, serves as Mozambique's second-largest city and a significant Indian Ocean trading post. Despite the 2019 cyclone, it displays resilience with historic buildings, such as the Cathedral of Beira and Macuti Lighthouse. The Grande Hotel Beira provides a snapshot of its opulent past amidst ongoing recovery efforts.

Chimoio: Chimoio, set in the Manica Province, is surrounded by agricultural lands and rugged mountains. The city's growth revolves around its strategic location. Nearby, tourists can find Mount Binga within the breathtaking Chimanimani range and the mysterious stone formations at Chimoio Caves. Its markets give a taste of local life, selling fresh produce and artisan goods.

Tete: Tete is a historical frontier city along the Zambezi River, known for its sweltering climate and as a center for the trade of gold, ivory, and slaves. The iconic suspension bridge and São João Baptista fort reflect its past. Nowadays, it's a gateway for exploring Cahora Bassa Dam and renowned for bustling markets where traditional music and crafts come to life.

Inhambane: Inhambane, one of the oldest settlements along Mozambique's coast, is quaint with its dhow harbor and Portuguese-flavored architecture. Praised for its charming atmosphere, historical landmarks like the 18th-century Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception, provide panoramic views. The region offers some of the finest beaches at Tofo and Barra, ideal for snorkeling, diving, and witnessing whale sharks and manta rays.

Xai-Xai: The capital of Gaza Province, Xai-Xai, lies near the Limpopo River, offering visitors a mix of beach town vibes and city life. Praia do Xai-Xai is a popular beach escape, displaying a long reef running parallel to the shore. The energetic Mercado Central selling diverse products, together with local restaurants featuring seafood delicacies, reflects the city's coastal culture and culinary scene.

Political Structure of Mozambique

Mozambique's political framework operates within the context of a multi-party democracy and a centralized government structure. Rooted in the principles of separation of powers, Mozambique fosters an executive, legislative, and judicial branch, ensuring a system of checks and balances. Despite these divisions, executive power wields considerable influence in governmental proceedings.

Government Type Mozambique is a presidential republic, where the President is both the head of state and the head of government. The President is vested with executive power and is directly elected by the people. The government is characterized by a strong executive branch, with the President having authority over the Council of Ministers.

Head of State As of the last update, the President of Mozambique is Filipe Nyusi, who has been in office since January 2015. The President serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and holds significant clout in foreign and domestic policy.

Head of Government The President, Filipe Nyusi, besides his role as head of state, also serves as the head of government, dealing with everyday administration, appointing ministers, and leading the executive branch's function.

Legislative Bodies Mozambique's legislative body is the unicameral Assembly of the Republic ("Assembleia da República"), which is composed of Members of Parliament elected through a system of proportional representation. The Assembly is responsible for lawmaking, overseeing government actions, and amending the constitution.

Major Political Parties The ruling party is FRELIMO (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique), which has dominated politics since independence. The main opposition party is RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistance), followed by the MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique) and several smaller parties.

Judicial System Overview Mozambique's judicial system is independent and includes several levels of courts, with the Supreme Court at its pinnacle. There are also administrative, customs, labor, and family courts. The legal system is based primarily on Portuguese civil law and customary law.

Membership in International Organizations Mozambique is a member of several international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). Mozambique is not a member of the European Union (EU) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Demographic Data of Mozambique

Mozambique's demography reflects its vast cultural diversity and youthful population.

Population Size and Distribution The total population of Mozambique is estimated to sit at around 32 million as of the latest data. Approximately 67% of the population resides in rural areas, though the rate of urbanization is increasing, particularly in Maputo where over 2 million inhabitants make up the city's population. Population density is higher along the fertile Zambezi River valley and the northern coastline than in the arid interior.

Population Growth Rate The annual population growth rate in Mozambique is reported at around 2.93%, indicating a rapid population increase. This growth mirrors a high fertility rate of around 5.2 children per woman coupled with decreasing mortality rates, spurred by gradual improvements in healthcare services and initiatives.

Ethnic Groups Among the broad array of ethnicities, the Makhuwa constitute about 40% of the population, while Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, and Ndau are other prominent ethnic groups, each contributing to Mozambique's multifaceted cultural landscape.

Religions Christians account for approximately 56% of the population, with Catholics making up the largest denomination. Islam is practiced by around 18% of the population, predominantly in the northern regions. Indigenous beliefs are adhered to by roughly 7.3% of Mozambicans, a testament to the enduring cultural traditions.

Age Structure Notably youthful, with around 45% of the population under the age of 15, Mozambique sits at a median age of roughly 17 years. This demographic dividend presents opportunities and challenges, depending on the country's future investment in youth.

Average Life Expectancy Life expectancy stands at about 60 years for the average Mozambican, a number that is steadily rising as public health efforts intensify, particularly targeting endemic diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Literacy Rates The literacy rate hovers around 60.7%, with notable gender disparity; 73.3% literacy among men compared to 49.8% among women. Government and international partners are working to bridge this gap through educational reforms and literacy programs.

These figures paint a picture of a nation with demographic potential that hinges on strategic investments in health, education, and economic development to leverage its youthful population for long-term prosperity. Data is dynamic and should be routinely updated to reflect the most current trends in Mozambique's demographic profile.

Economic Overview of Mozambique

Mozambique's economy is transforming with an expanding natural gas industry, but it still grapples with significant development hurdles.

GDP and GDP per Capita Mozambique's GDP stands at approximately $15 billion, with a GDP per capita of around $500, signalling a disparity in wealth distribution and indicating the ongoing challenges in uplifting the general living standards.

Major Industries and Natural Resources Agriculture employs roughly 70% of the population and contributes to nearly a quarter of GDP, with significant exports of tobacco, sugarcane, and cotton. The coal sector has surged, and with extensive untapped offshore gas fields, Mozambique is set to become a key global liquefied natural gas (LNG) player.

Currency and Exchange Rate The Mozambique Metical (MZN) is the national currency. As of the latest data, 1 US Dollar equals around 60 MZN, though this rate varies over time due to economic conditions.

Trade Balance (Imports and Exports) Mozambique's trade balance often shows a deficit; for instance, imports cost $10.55 billion against exports valued at $4.77 billion in recent years. Aluminum and crude oil are the most significant imports, contrasting with aluminum and tobacco exports.

Economic Growth Rate The growth rate has been robust in preceding years, averaging around 3-4%, but it faces significant variability due to external factors like global commodity prices and domestic events.

Unemployment Rate Official figures cite the unemployment rate at about 24-25%. However, this does not capture the vast underemployment across the informal sector.

Poverty Rate Despite growth, around 46% of the population still lives below the poverty line, with efforts to reduce poverty impeded by factors like recurrent droughts and cyclones.

Key Economic Partners Trade relations with South Africa are crucial, accounting for a significant percentage of Mozambique's trade. China's role as an investor and trade partner is growing, with investments focused on infrastructure and agriculture.

Please note that these statistics are susceptive to change and should be confirmed with up-to-date data sources for accuracy.

Mozambique national holidays 

Mozambique celebrates several national holidays throughout the year, which are linked to the country's history, culture, and significant moments. Here are the main national holidays, although there might be changes or additions each year:

  1. New Year's Day - January 1
  1. Heroes' Day - February 3 (in memory of Eduardo Mondlane, the founder of FRELIMO who was killed on this date in 1969)
  1. Women's Day - April 7 (commemorates Josina Machel, a key figure in the struggle for women's rights in Mozambique)
  1. Workers' Day - May 1 (International Labor Day)
  1. Independence Day - June 25 (celebrates independence from Portugal in 1975)
  1. Victory Day - September 7 (commemorates the Lusaka Accord signed in 1974 leading to independence)
  1. Armed Forces Day - September 25 (marks Samora Machel's call to arms against Portuguese colonial rule in 1964)
  1. Day of Peace and Reconciliation - October 4 (celebrates the end of the civil war with the signing of the General Peace Agreement in 1992)
  1. Family Day / Christmas Day - December 25

In addition to these fixed-date holidays, Mozambique, like many other nations, observes Easter, which includes Good Friday and Easter Monday. These dates change each year according to the Christian liturgical calendar. Please note that while these are the nationally recognized holidays, other regional or local festivities may be observed, and it's always advisable to confirm the current year's official holiday calendar.

Travel in Mozambqiue

If you're planning a trip to Mozambique, here's some key information to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Essential Contact Information:

  • Telephone Code: +258
  • Local Emergency Numbers:
  • Ambulance: 117
  • Fire Brigade: 198
  • Police: 119

Currency: The local currency is the Metical (MZM).

Electricity: Standard voltage is 220 V at 50 Hz, with plug types C, F, and M being used.

Languages: Portuguese as the most prevalent, along with other local languages.

Time Zone: UTC+2,

Driving: An International Driving Permit is suggested, and remember that driving is on the left side of the road.

For travellers: You can find useful information here:

The currency of Mozambique

The currency of Mozambique is the Mozambican metical (MZN), which was introduced in 1980 to replace the previous currency, the escudo. The metical is divided into 100 centavos.

The current series of banknotes in circulation were introduced in 2011 and feature images of Mozambican cultural and historical landmarks, as well as notable figures in the country's history. The denominations of banknotes in circulation are 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 meticais.

Mozambique airports 

Mozambique has 2 major airports, such as Maputo International Airport and Beira International Airport. 

Other airports, such as Vilankulo Airport, Pemba Airport, and Inhambane Airport, serve as gateways to popular tourist destinations. Additionally, there are smaller airfields that serve local communities and small planes.

  1. airport Maputo
  2. Aeródromo de Inhaca
  3. Bilene Airfield
  4. Inhambane Airport
  5. airport Vilankulo
  6. Aeroporto da Ilha de Benguerra
  7. Indigo Bay Lodge Airport
  8. Aeroport de l'illa de Bazaruto
  9. airport Beira
  10. Aeroporto de Chimoio
  11. airport Quelimane
  12. airport Chingozi
  13. airportSongo
  14. Ulongwe Airport
  15. Cuamba Airport
  16. Flughafen Angoche
  17. Aeroporto de Nampula
  18. airport Nacala
  19. Lichinga airport
  20. Marrupa Airport
  21. airport Pemba
  22. Mueda Airport
  23. Mocímboa da Praia Airport